I’m constantly trying new things, but I only review stuff that I actually use. That should help keep the clutter down and keep you focused on the best stuff out there. I hope these reviews are of benefit to you in your lifelong adventure of photographic fortune and glory.
Photo Software Reviews
Five pieces of software you should have
- Aurora HDR Pro for Mac – I developed this software along with Macphun for HDR and general processing
- Photomatix Review – if you’re on Windows, this is your best choice for HDR processing
- OnOne Software Review – a robust suite of products and great tools you should know
- Topaz Adjust Review – an amazing plugin to give very nice effects
- Nik Software Review – a wide variety of post-processing filter options that are fun!
Additional Software you may find helpful
- SmugMug Review – how I share my photos online… I think SmugMug is the best
- Animoto Review – a fun and stylish way to make online videos. So easy!
- Lucis Pro Review – wonderful for adding sharp detail and pop
- Macphun Review – fast, fun, and powerful post-processing tools for Macs
- Nik Color Efex Pro Review – great tool for color correction, retouching, and creative effects
- Nik Sharpener Pro Review – I find the sharpening to be a grade better than what is in Photoshop by default.
- Nik Silver Efex Pro Review – black and white filters sound kinda boring, yes? No – check this out!
- Nik Viveza 2 Review – lets you change one part of a photo without changing another part
- Noiseware Review – great for reducing the “noise” in photos
- Magic Bullet Looks Review – I’m amazed at how much a simple filter can add to a video
- PhotoLooks Review – cool tool for giving your images some “pop”
- Photoshop Review – a nice review of Adobe Photoshop and why you need it!
- Portraiture Review – used for making people and portraits look amazing
- Topaz Detail Review – another winner from Topaz
- Topaz InFocus Review – another winner from Topaz
Photo Software Coupon Codes
I also have a complete list of the best coupon codes for photo editing software.
Camera Equipment Reviews
Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lenses I use for my photography.
Good Camera: Sony a5100
Priced at under $450 for the body, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at below the $500 level.
If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” recommendations. However, if budget is your principal concern, then no worries; this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used if and when you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7R2 model below.
Better Camera: Sony a6300
Starting at below $999 for the body.
The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. It was also the replacement for the Sony NEX-7, which I loved. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 fps).
Best Camera: Sony a7RII
Starting at just under $3,200
A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. I’m working on the Mark 2 review right now, but just know the main differences are that it is faster, 42 Megapixel (instead of 36), and, most importantly, it has in-body stabilization. AWESOME. This is currently my main camera. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. Its Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!
Wildcard 2nd Camera: Sony DSC-RX100 IV
I LOVE this camera. It’s my quick one-camera camera! You can’t change lenses. It’s not full-frame. But it doesn’t matter. It’s an absolutely magical little camera. I love it so much that it will be my main camera at Burning Man this year… it’s also one of my street photography cameras. I don’t know the exact stats… but it’s like 16 photos per second. 20.1 megapixel. And it can even shoot 4K video, and slow motion 1080p at 960 FPS. What an amazing compact camera! If you have an extra $1,000 or so, just get it!!!
Sony a7R – First Three Lenses
Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras! 🙂
- Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm review.
- Sony FE 24-240 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is great. What a range! It’s not super-fast, but that’s not a problem for me.
- Sony FE 16-35 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – I’m so excited about this lens! This is the first full-frame wide angle lens that fits the eMount on the Sony a7 line of cameras.
Sony a7R – Other Goodies!
- Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
- Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount. WARNING: Do not get the cheaper adapters. I tried them, thinking it was just a piece of metal, but it was not and many of my photos, especially at infinity, were out of focus. Check out my Leica Lens Buying Guide for more info.
- Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
- Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses
Sony A5100 / A6300 Camera – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first couple of lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a6300 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.
- Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
- Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review. Note: This is also a great lens for the Sony A7r Mark 2, giving you the full range of 12-17mm. The edges get a bit ropy, but only hardcore camera nerds look at the edges.
What’s in my photo bag?
Come check out my Camera Bag page for more details!
Over the past year few years, I’ve been partnering with Peak Design to build five incredible camera bags. And now you can see more! See our current Kickstarter here and/or check out our first Everyday Messenger here!
Leica Lens Buying Guide
I’m really getting into using Leica lenses with the Sony a7R. You have to manually focus but you still get focus peaking and all of the other sweet features of the Sony mirrorless system. I’ve created a Leica Lens Buying Guide where I’ll chronicle what I learn and recommend.
More Lens Reviews
I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend. Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.
DJI Phantom and Inspire 1 Quadcopters
I recently got a quadcopter and I LOVE it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives. I started with the DJI Phantom 2 with and GoPro.
I’ve recently switched tripods, then switched back, then switched again. I’m like the Caitlyn Jenner of tripods, and I’m not proud. But I’m ownin’ it girl.
- High End — The TQC-14 Tripod from RRS – I love this tripod. Again, I’ve switched around a lot… but this thing honestly fixes all the gripes I had with previous RRS tripods.
- Budget — Any 3-Legged Thing Tripod – These are also nice tripods. Yes, they are still pricey but with good quality. There are some very inexpensive tripods out there, but they are so flimsy and you should not waste your time.
- Aweber Review – Email software that we use for our newsletter
- ColorMunki Review – Helps to accurately calibrate the color of your monitors
- HyperMac Review – Awesome external battery for Macs
- MagCloud Review – Easily create print and digital books
- RackSpace Review – This website and all of our others are hosted by Rackspace
- Syrp Genie Review – a beautiful little device for time-lapse photography that automatically turns, pivots, and slides while taking the photo for you
- Woopra Review – Great website analytics tools
Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Please visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple!